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ETHICS The Brand By Langston Galloway

This is the age of the independent sneaker brand. Not to say that we haven’t seen independent brands before, but with so many social media apps giving individuals a platform, it seems that more than ever independent brands are taking advantage of the attention. As well they should.

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Not only does there seem to be more exposure for independent sneaker brands, but now it feels like the sneaker community itself is more interested in what they have to offer. For the longest time if you weren’t Nike, Jordan Brand, Yeezy, or Adidas, the masses couldn’t give a shit. Yeah, you still had your “true” sneakerhead who was into any and all sneakers minus the brand name and logo. For them, the only prerequisite was that a sneaker had to be dope. And it’s within this vein that most independents operate.

Independent brands offer us something most major sneaker brands either can’t, or are unwilling to, something new. While most established brands tend to play it safe, independent brands—for the most part—attempt to think outside the box. And that’s generally because they have to. They don’t have the luxury of resting on their laurels because they haven’t established any. At least not on that same level.

Think about it.

Nike doesn’t have to EARN sales of the Dunk Low or the Dunk SB, because people will buy it just on the strength of it being a Dunk Low or a Dunk SB. Jordan Brand doesn’t have to EARN sales of the Air Jordan Retro 1 High OG, because enough people will buy it simply on the premise that it’s an Air Jordan 1. Adidas and Yeezy don’t have to EARN sales of the 350 Boost, or any other ugly ass silhouette that they drop, because there’s a large contingent of people who are willing to buy it just because it’s a Yeezy. For most high profile brands and collaborators, their name and logo is what exalts their products, whereas for an independent brand, the quality and creativity of the product is what exalts their name. Independent brands have to earn every penny, dollar, and customer. There’s entrepreneurial life and death in every sale.

It ain’t easy.

Shit, even if you look at it from a design level there’s a degree of accountability that they have to own, as both business owner AND designer, that their counterparts at the major sneaker brands are immune to. This is why I got to tip my hat to the Mache 275s and the Sia Collectives of the world. However you feel about their shoes, they’re responsible for every design. They shoulder the credit, and bear the blame, depending on the consumer’s reception. Yeah, we know about the Tinker Hatfields, the Eric Avars, and the Jason Petries, but most designers are protected by their anonymity. If a shit silhouette, or a shit colorway, comes out people blame the brand, not the designer. The majority of people wouldn’t even know who to specifically call out and blame for a bad release. And maybe that’s why brands don’t highlight their designers like they used to. (I think they should, but that’s an article for another day). Bottom line, there’s a certain volume of music that independent sneaker designers have to face that those in the big leagues are soundproofed from. And just based on that alone, you have to respect their creative moxie.

So take all of that pressure and place it under the magnifying glass of being an NBA player. Where both every success, and every failure, is a headline to an article that no one wants to read but becomes a narrative that everyone wants to publicly dissect and psychoanalyze.

Never one to shy away from such a challenge, NBA journeyman Langston Galloway has created his first signature sneaker, the lgONE, under his own independent brand called “Ethics”. The shoes are said to be ethically made. The brand also makes it a point to specify that the shoes are an animal-free product. So one can surmise that when they say “ethically made” they mean free from being produced and manufactured by third world slave labor. Personally, I think highlighting both of those attributes is clever marketing on their part. It simultaneously practices what their tagline preaches, “Ethics Are A Personal Choice”, AND, it gives Enes Kanter Freedom one less sneaker brand to bitch about.

But back to Langston…

Not only has he defied the odds and made a career for himself in the NBA—having gone undrafted—but he’s also made a name for himself in the sneaker community. Having worked his way from the NBA G-League to play for teams like the Knicks, Pistons, and Suns, Langston earned his first shoe deal with Q4 Sports—another independent sneaker brand—back in 2017, and he quickly gained attention for the custom sneakers he was seen wearing in games. And now with the release of his very own signature sneaker, the lgONE, dude is living every athlete’s dream right now.

The shoe itself looks comfortable. Design-wise, it’s in line with other basketball silhouettes in the market. I think the colorway is a dope introduction to the sneaker. The overall design lends itself to some dope color blocking, which leaves me interested in what potential colorways he has in store for the future. As of now, most sizes have already sold out. There are a few 9s and 9.5s available on the website. So if you’re a slightly smaller man, or a slightly taller woman, you still have an opportunity to shoot your shot.

If you are interested in learning more about Ethics, or you’re looking to secure a pair of the lgONE by Langston Galloway, go to EthicsTheBrand.com, where they retail for $120.

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Rashone Bryant
Sneakerhead since 1997. Married. Father of one. Currently works for Chrysler and writes for SBD. Favorite Kicks - OG "Flu Game" Air Jordan 12

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